Bass Player Live! 2010 starts today! In addition to giving away Jaco Pastorius pickups, we are giving away Steve Harris pickups! Just like the Jaco pickups, these Steve Harris pickups were wound by Seymour W. Duncan himself. Read Seymour’s story about working with Steve Harris below. These pickups are one of a kind collectibles and we are giving them away at Bass Player Live! this weekend. If you are in the LA area, find us at Bass Player Live! 2010 to enter the giveaway!
For those who can’t attend the event, don’t forget to enter our online competition here!
Follow us on www.twitter.com/seymourduncan as we live tweet from the event. Tell us who you want to see!
Making Pickups for Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris
By Seymour W. Duncan, as told to Bill Leigh
I’ve been working with Iron Maiden bassist Steve Harris since the mid ’80s, through his tech, Michael Kenny, who’s also a bassist. We have made many pickups for Steve over the years and we still do to this day.
For Steve, I first made pickups with different specs for basses with different weights. Steve wanted his pickups to sound the same in the amp so he didn’t have to change the amp controls when changing basses. I had a formula I would use to determine what kind of winding would keep the same tone depending on the weight and particular wood. The heavier the bass, the brighter it was, so I’d make the pickups sound darker. The lighter the bass, the darker the sound, so I’d make the pickups brighter.
Steve always had a problem with sweating so much that he would corrode his instruments and short out his pickups. Plus, his heavy playing would sometimes break the pickups! In addition to making him new pickups, I suggested some ways to ground his instruments better. He was also having a problem with static on the pickguards. That kind of thing can happen if you’re moving around a lot, or wearing certain kinds of clothes, like leather. I told him to spray Static Guard laundry spray on a rag and rub it on the pickguard. It works.
Over time, the basses Steve used a lot became more consistent, and we developed a standard formula for his pickups: a good, clean, round, balanced sound.